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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

EARLY WRITINGS - 1927 1928 1929


Ommen, Holland, 1928

One does not arrive at the Truth, which is unconditioned, unlimited, without shedding a tear. You cannot understand life without going through struggles, without having difficulties, doubts. And the more you have these, the more certain will you be of your understanding. I know that sounds rather hard, but I hope you will understand. Many of you are uncertain, are trying to find out for yourselves; so, if I may, I would suggest that you hold your emotions in check rather more strongly than hitherto; do not let them run away with you. Neither should you be so intellectual that you become hard and callous. Keep, if I may suggest, an even keel, a careful balance between mind and emotions. Do not think for a single moment that I want to upset any one of you or that I want to force decisions upon you. I do not want to urge, or coerce you, in any way. All that I wish to do is to put before you for your examination, and hence for your understanding, that which I have found to be the Truth. You may doubt it; you may say: "That is not what I want; you are not the real Teacher." But do not get caught up in your emotions and feel upset. That is not the way to find the Truth.

If you went into a museum or a picture gallery, you would not pass your criticism on every picture, unless you were a great critic of painting, and yet you are quite willing to criticise and reject without careful examination something which is far more difficult to understand than a picture, something which is far more real than a picture; and that is Life itself.

Do not say: Krishnamurti asks me to renounce. I am not asking anyone to renounce anything, because I do not believe that there is any such thing as renunciation; I do not believe that there is any such thing as a sacrifice. For a person who really understands, there is no renunciation, or sacrifice, or reconciliation. I do not want you to do anything of that kind; and please believe me when I tell you that I am speaking out of the fullness of my heart. Because I see that most people are unhappy, struggling, I want to help. If that were not my desire, I should not be here; I would much rather go away into a quiet place. Do not think that I am saying this out of hardness of heart. I do not want you to make up your minds either to accept or reject this. I want you to examine all things impartially, sanely, without being carried away by emotions or by intellectual theories. A cultured person is one who is not prejudiced in any manner whatsoever, who is desirous and capable of examining all things impartially, and who does not let his emotions and prejudices play havoc with him.

I am certain of that which I put forward -I knew it for myself; but you do not know, and so do not get upset by it, or feel irritable or superior. Examine it, and see if it is not the only solution in the world that will give lasting happiness; if it is not the only way of finding that Truth, and that freedom, which is happiness. That is the attitude you should adopt and not just rejection or acceptance of what I say. You want that which I have found, and to have it and to live with it and to embrace it you must approach it sanely, with balanced emotions and mind. It is not by becoming over-serious that you find the true proportion of things. And if you would laugh a little more at yourselves and at all your theories and at my theories too, all would be well.

QUESTION: If the Order of the Star is a bridge, carrying your teaching to the world, may not other organizations, movements, ceremonies, even churches, also act as bridges for your teaching, and to bring people into touch with you and the Truth you represent?

KRISHNAJI: A friend of mine said the other day, "You have got a complex with regard to ceremonies". Now I have no complex about ceremonies. It would be an absurd thing to make of ceremonies a principle over which to fight. It is as unessential, from my point of view, as whether it is a cloudy or a sunny day. So please put away from your minds that I want to attack ceremonies, that I have a complex with regard to them. One should not make of ceremonies a principle essential for the understanding of Truth and hence of Life. Then with regard to organizations, I would like to say this: I do not think anyone need belong to any organization, even to the Star. Organizations always usurp the Truth, and so there is danger that, instead of leading the people across the bridge towards the Truth, they prevent people from attaining. For this reason I am always rather wary of organizations. You make a chair to sit upon, but if you let the chair sit upon you, it is absurd. So likewise with organizations. If the Star movement is a bridge, which I hope it is, to carry the ideas that I put forward, and which you are to examine -you are the bridge, you compose the organization. You are the foundations of that bridge. If the foundation is not strong, the bridge will collapse. If you do not maintain the firmness, the purity of its purpose, which is to bring the world towards the absolute, the infinite Truth, then an organization will be useless and dangerous. Please do not think that, because I happen to be the Head of this organization, I want this movement to be maintained at all costs; I do not care, because, as I have carefully stated over and over again, organizations are not in themselves most essential. There are many who object to organizations -they do not want to give pledges, affirm beliefs, or accept conditions. And this organization of the Star exists purely to spread the idea, but not to be a tabernacle of the Truth; there is in this a great deal of difference. This organization should not claim that it is the special way towards the Truth, that it has a special benediction. No movement, no religious organization, must ever claim a special benediction or assert itself to be the particular path to Truth. This would be a limitation on life and hence a betrayal of Truth. Wherever there is a search, a longing, a desire to seek the Truth, there Truth exists -not in an organization of any type, however sanctified it be.

"Can other organizations help to bring people in touch with you and the Truth you represent?" This depends not on organizations but on you. Friend, you are the maker of organizations, you can either make them great, wide, include everything and exclude nothing, or you can make them narrow, limited, a closed body of dogmatic, narrow-minded and credulous people. That depends not on me but on you.

Whether other organizations can help, I do not know. I am not concerned. If I said certain organizations do help, and others do not help, and so on, you would be asking me why certain organizations help and others do not help. It is not the organizations that reveal the Truth; it is the individual who understands that helps; it is the individual who has found the Truth that creates lastingly. Truth does not depend on organizations of any kind, however ancient, however modern. And because each organization claims to be something special, to have in it special paths towards the Truth, they are betraying, they are corrupting, the Truth. Consider diligently and you will have understanding; reject violently without thought, and you will have no understanding. Little use to tell me, "We have been told of this, and that". Against that I have no answer. What I am concerned with is the purification and the stability of the mind and of the heart and not with organizations of any kind. After all, if the mind and the heart are not pure, who can tell you of their purity, of their strength, except yourself? What organization can help you to cleanse them except yourself? Because you depend on organizations, religious and moral, on outside authority for your strength, for your purification, for your sustenance, those organizations usurp and pervert your understanding.

QUESTION: Since Krishnaji does not want compromises, should we not abandon movements other than the Star?

KRISHNAJI: I am not going to tell you what to abandon and what not to abandon. For me there is no such thing as compromise, because I have nothing with which to compromise. I cannot compromise with something I have no use for. For a person who has crossed to the further share there can be no compromise with the shore which he has left behind. He has finished with it. There is compromise, there must be compromise, for a person who has yet to learn to cross, who is only investigating, who is all the time only looking at the other shore, but who has not the courage, the determination, the desire to cross to it.

If you abandon any movement because someone else tells you to do so, you will be putting yourself again into another cage. The modern tendency is not to join movements, to take pledges or to subscribe to definite objects. I have talked to many people in America, in India and in Europe and they ask: Must I join your Order? I say: Not at all. Talk to any young person who has enthusiasm, and you will find that he does not ever want to join anything. Most people join movements from the desire to seek salvation, the desire to seek certainty, the desire to seek comfort. Nobody can save you from outside -"save" is a curious word, but we will use it for the moment. The moment that you are your own guide, your own authority and your own creator, everything is well. It is much more simple to rely on your own self than to hang your soul on the peg of a movement.

QUESTION: Please tell us the ways in which we can hinder your work.

KRISHNAJI: At last, an honest question! I am afraid you are doing that successfully by not understanding what I am saying. Friend, it is not my work you are doing. You are doing your own work, and not my work. You can hinder yourself or make yourself helpful to yourself. My work is to help you to awaken your desire of attainment, of illumination, of liberation, and how you work it out is of not very great importance. You will attain, but how you can hinder most will depend on each one of you. Most people think that they are helping. I am afraid the first thing for them to realize is that they are not helping; because when you once admit that you are not helping, then you are clearing the ground to build, clearing away the forest of misunderstanding and letting in the light.

But if you say, "I understand everything", "it is very simple," then that is the way in which you are destructive, in which you are not helping. But most of you are saying all the time, "Oh, I understand you perfectly!".

QUESTION: Does Krishnaji think there are any specific movements, organizations or groups which have the power to hinder his work in the world?

I leave that to you; organizations, groups, movements, are yourselves. If you do not understand, you cannot help; and if you cannot help, the organizations and the groups or the movements to which you belong will not help either. So it is a vicious circle. You should solve problems first, gain your understanding first, and then organizations, groups, sects, and movements, will not much matter.

QUESTION: After having shown us the goal, and emphasised the necessity for destruction, can you make somewhat clearer the means by which we may reach that goal? Much stress has been laid on the destructive side of the work. Why is the constructive one so vaguely spoken of?

KRISHNAJI: "The necessity for destruction" -I do not know of what!... "After having shown us the goal..." -I have not shown you the goal. I want to awaken the desire in you to see the goal, and you will see it. If I showed you the goal, the absolute Truth without finality, it would not be the Truth for you; and if I establish for you the way towards the Truth, it will not be the way for you. It is easy to establish a way, to lay down certain ethical, moral laws which will bind you; but that is not my purpose... "Can you make somewhat clearer the means by which we shall reach the goal?" -But surely that is what I have been trying to do! That is what I have been trying to explain. But you must understand, you must create the goal, the path, not I. You would like me to say: "Get up in the morning at such-and-such a time, meditate for so many hours. Do not eat this but eat that. Think this but do not think that." You would like me to circumscribe, limit your life, and your understanding. You will then think that that is showing you the way. Life points the way to him who is desirous of understanding the Truth.

It is because you segregate yourself, because you keep yourself away from life, that you want me to show you the goal and the manner of attaining it. I have watched people who have a very systematic life, who get up at a precise hour, who eat in the prescribed manner of the so-called spiritual being -whatever that be- who do not think those things which they have been told they should not think. I have watched these people and they have not that which is the freshness of life. It is not through limiting, through a narrow and unintelligent observance of petty disciplines, that you attain. Truth is far beyond these disciplines, systems and observances. Truth does not concern itself with what you eat, in what manner you meditate, by what path you come to its understanding. It says: "I am, and if you love me, struggle with life, struggle with every event of the day, and try to understand, but do not put a limitation upon your understanding."

"Much stress has been laid upon the destructive side of the work. Why is the constructive one so vaguely spoken of?" -You cannot create without first destroying the complications around life, without making life simple. You cannot build where there are already buildings. If you would build, you must have clear space to lay deep the foundations. That is not destruction. You are only looking at the negative side all the time, because that is more convenient, and never at the positive side, which is the constructive side. If you listen diligently, you will see that there is neither destruction nor construction. If you open the door of life, and do not try to curb it, it will build where it is necessary; but because you try to curb it, warp it, then for you there is renunciation which is destruction, which is the waste of time, and for you there is sacrifice, because you have to make straight those things which are crooked.

QUESTION: Is it right to regard spiritual movements generally as similar to Krishnaji's movement? Are they not quite different?

KRISHNAJI: First of all, I have no movement. I refuse to be made into a cause, so that through me you can save your souls. Most people want causes so that they can embellish their own desire or further their own longing. They want to evolve through the cause of another rather than through themselves. But the last thing I want to do is to start a movement. Therefore there is no point in asking if "certain movements are the same as Krishnaji's movement." After all, I do not want -and I mean this sincerely and I hope you will believe it in the fullness of your heart- I really do not want to create another cage for you. What happens in most organizations, in most religious bodies, most movements, in that they ask you to leave your narrow little cage and come into their narrow little cage. It may perhaps be a little bigger but it is a cage nevertheless. And what I would do, what I shall do, is to have no cages at all, but to instil and awaken that burning desire for liberation so that you will not create a cage for yourselves around ideas, around personalities. But the moment you regard me as starting a new movement in opposition to another, the whole conception that I have of life is perverted.

I was asked in Paris by a newspaper reporter whether I was a Theosophist, whether I was a Hindu, whether I was this or that; and whether everyone must become Theosophists, Hindus and Star members in order to understand what I am saying. I said: You need not become a Theosophist or a Star member at all. And I further added that I was neither a Theosophist nor a non-Theosophist. After all, these are only labels, and there is a much bigger thing behind all labels. It is no good taking shelter behind a label, taking comfort in a movement.

As regards the question, "Are they not quite different?" -if you think they are different, they must be different.

When the first cubist picture was exhibited in Paris there was a furore against it, but people soon began to appreciate it. They all had some ideas about it, and now cubism has become quite fashionable. If you had asked a cubist painter: Are you starting cubism in opposition to the old way of painting? -He would have said: No, this is entirely different from that to which either your mind or your heart is accustomed. And that is what is happening today; in the same way there are many people in the world who are critical at the present moment, saying that I have come to destroy this and that, and that there is nothing constructive. Anything new -though there is nothing new under the sun- is bound to be misunderstood at the beginning. But there will also be those who will open their minds to reason and grapple with the new, and by that reasoning and by that struggle, open their hearts to further happiness.

QUESTION: The impression of a World-Teacher as generally conceived conveys above all the idea of Compassion. Some people find in your teaching the lack of that quality. Could you define your conception of compassion?

KRISHNAJI: A surgeon who sees a disease that is eating up a man, says: In order to cure him, I must operate. Another less experienced doctor comes, feeds him and lulls him to sleep. Which would you call the more compassionate? You want comfort, that comfort which is born of decay and which you imagine is compassion, affection, true love. The shadow of that comfort you would have, but if I gave it to you, that would not be the work of a real Teacher, of an individual who has attained. If, on the contrary, I were to show to you your own weaknesses, which are the causes of many diseases, and show to you the manner of stopping those diseases, you would say: That is not compassion. If you are suffering greatly, you go to a doctor to have the pain relieved. If the doctor is wise, he will not tell you to go on eating in the same manner as before, to enjoy the same fleeting pleasures of life; he will tell you to leave your pleasures, your fleeting enjoyments, and withdraw for a while to gather strength. But such a doctor you will not have; because he speaks the truth, he is more difficult to follow and to understand, whereas you would call another, who feeds your vanities and gives you innumerable passing comforts, the doctor of true compassion. How little understanding you have of compassion! When a mother watches her child falling, although she may help him occasionally, her desire is that he shall grow strong, and so she does not prevent him from falling. Would you not call that compassion, affection, or love? Which is nobler, or greater -to awaken the strength that lies hidden within each one, that he may ascend the mountainside for himself, or to leave him weak and pull him up the mountainside?

There was once a man who was lame. He was healed, but after some days he was taken to prison for some act of immorality. Which would be better -so heal the desires which cause the wounds, or to heal the momentary wounds, which would only lead to greater sorrows and greater pains?

All of you want comfort and hope and the dangling of heaven in front of you, and you would call that "compassion". You want to be led from one hope to another hope, from one longing to another longing, from one desire to another desire, from one satisfaction to another satisfaction. To a man who offered you that, you would give the laurels of compassion, whereas of a man who does not give hope, but who gives you the real understanding of life, so that you will conquer for yourself all ailments, all diseases and all sorrows and all pains, you say: That man has no heart or his heart is dry and empty.

If you have no real understanding of compassion, you will create the shadow of comfort, as so many have done, and thereby betray the Truth. If you do not understand compassion in its full sense, you will build up many cages, adorned, embellished and decorated. If you do not understand this quality of affection, you will build temples in which there shall be graven images for the passing comfort of others, which will again be the stepping down and hence the betrayal of the Truth. If you do not understand this love, you will create on the mountainside shelters that shall take away their strength, that shall hold people in darkness.